For many years, as someone who worked in a music venue by day, and played gigs in the evenings, I have considered Linley Hamilton to be someone who played with the same impeccable taste - and with the same attention to detail - as he dressed.
He always seemed to play with cool people, and he breezed in and out of venues looking sharp. There are few more instruments as cool as the trumpet to start with anyway, right? And a sharp dressed trumpet player is exponentially more sharp than any other sharp-dressed musician.
And Linley seemed capable of playing ANYTHING. With ANYBODY. He has turned up in the most unlikely combinations - and always delivered something appropriate, unexpected and delightful.
The first time I saw him play live was with the Dermot Harland Quintet at the Edgewater Hotel in Portstewart in the early 90s, and as the sun went down on the Atlantic beyond the windows, he played an exquisite solo on ‘When Sonny Gets Blue’, and I was hooked.
He has progressed leaps and bounds even since then, and he remains an arresting talent – he has played beautiful trumpet solos for me on three of my albums, and on each occasion he has been exquisite. It’s a source of huge personal pride for me to share the stage with him occasionally as my guest, or when he augments the Ronnie Greer Blues Band line up.
The reason for my gush is that Linley has released a delicious second album called ‘In Transition’. It's a beautiful thing, and features performances by Linley backed by a superb band - Johnny Taylor on piano, Damian Evans on bass, Dominic Mullan on drums and Julien Colarossi on guitar. Highlights include a beautiful arrangement of Rufus Wainwright's 'Dinner at 8' and Linley's own composition 'Dusk'. You can find links to the album here: